Drawing on an empirical study of four major international management consultancies, this article examines managerial efforts to construct ‘global’ organizations. We show how these efforts are undermined by inter-office conflicts over the staffing of client projects. We argue that such constraints cannot be adequately understood as an outcome of inappropriate organizational structures and incentives since this explanation ignores the important role of institutional contexts. In this vein, we outline and develop four different institutionalist lenses and apply them to the empirical findings. In so doing, we reveal the need to adopt a multi-dimensional institutionalist approach to the study of ‘global’ firms, one that can account for not only national effects but also transnational and neocolonial influences on these organizations.